Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to seize the “once in a lifetime” opportunity offered by Brexit to enact Boris Johnson’s radical shake-up of the UK’s immigration system.
Ms Patel said the Government was determined to make Britain the “greatest country on Earth” as she told of her plans for a tougher immigration policy, whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.
The Prime Minister has already committed to a radical rewrite of the policy, and Ms Patel confirmed she would be urgently commissioning the Migration Advisory Committee to review Australia’s points-based system.
A skills-based approach would ensure the country is looking at what people can contribute instead of where they come from, she said.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, she added: “The current migration system means we have to give an automatic right of access to all EU nationals.
“In future we will decide who we give preference to, so we can ensure we are able to attract the most talented and skilled from other parts of the world.”
Changes to the immigration system would boost the economy as well as public confidence, Ms Patel said. “We must seize the once in a lifetime opportunity offered by the end of free movement,” she wrote.
“Free from the shackles of the EU – and an automatic right of entry for their citizens – we will be able to give the type of preference to brilliant scientists, academics and highly skilled workers that we want to see more of.”
She also vowed to ensure a strong border to help keep out terrorists and criminals, and said prospective migrants would be checked for criminal records.